When I stepped into the cinema theatre, I must admit that I had absolutely no idea what ‘Dangal’ was all about except for the fact that Aamir Khan’s screen character had two daughters. I have always been pleasantly surprised by Aamir Khan’s sheer amount of perfectionistic input into his movies and since ‘Dangal’ was smashing box-office records, I geared myself to be amazed…and amazed I was, totally enraptured, from the beginning till the end. Here is a contemporary movie which will mark people’s minds, long after they have left the movie theatre…This biopic which is based on a father’s (Mahavir Singh Phogat) relentless determination to push his daughters in the traditionally male-dominated sphere of wrestling towards realising their inner potential and achieving international recognition, is a touching tale of female awakening in patriarchal India. Other women around the world will surely identify with the two girls, Geeta and Babita Kumari, as they struggle, lose hope but decide to fight against all odds to triumph eventually.
I could feel the sheer electric power behind the acting; the actors really got into their characters’ skins and this is what makes this movie so genuinely compelling. Womanhood pitted against patriarchy, national pride versus an inapt corrupted governmental system, individual dreams as opposed to family expectations; these are some of the key aspects of ‘Dangal’ which keep the audience perpetually engaged till the very end. Before seeing the movie, I expected to be impressed but instead, afterwards, my mind was blown away.
...while a footage on a female sexual assault in India goes viral.
A CCTV footage is going viral for the wrong reasons. In Bengaluru, India, two men on a scooter come across a woman who is quietly minding her business. One of the men wastes no time in running to grope and sexually molest her and drags her to the scooter so that his mate can give a hand to take her somewhere else, to rape her, undoubtedly. The woman fights back courageously and she is finally violently thrown to the ground while onlookers watched on, without a care in the world!
So, while ‘Dangal’ is taking the world by storm, this footage exposes what is all wrong about patriarchal India and any other such rigid country, for that matter. The fact that the onlookers did NOTHING is atrociously sickening. According to official figures, 34 651 women were raped in India in 2015. Unofficial figures are bound to be even more distressing. Females are selectively aborted or subjected to infanticide, married off at a very young age, taken for granted, treated like inferior beings who are confined to child-bearing and household chores. When the patriarchal system conditions some men to think that they are superior to women since birth, this is what happens; expression of violence against women. Ironically, many of these male abusers in India worship goddesses…Is there any point in worshipping goddesses if women are not respected? It might be the 21st century but for many women, they might as well still be evolving in the dark ages.
I have been reading the online comments of those who have been left stupefied by the footage. One Facebook user observed that instead of exclusively teaching classical dance and singing lessons to young girls, it might be better to initiate them to martial art lessons, to teach them self-defence techniques against the sex-crazed maniacs roaming loose. If these men cannot be reformed, it is up to the women to teach them a lesson they will never forget.